Anatomy Of A SWAT From A Lawyer’s Perspective
Anatomy Of A SWAT From A Lawyer’s Perspective
Lucille Compton 
Mohandas Karamachand Gandhi, one of the most influential figures in modern social and political activism, considered these traits to be the most spiritually perilous to humanity. 
Wealth without Work Pleasure without Conscience Science without Humanity Knowledge without Character Politics without Principle Commerce without Morality Worship without Sacrifice
Most of us know the term “SWAT” as a reference to an inter-agency team of enforcement personnel who engage in operations to put drug lords and other illegal groups out of business using sophisticated weaponry and state-of-the-art intelligence-gathering methods. A client of mine uses "swat" operation when referring to a complex series of seemingly unrelated actions by a series of governmental agencies, including agencies of judicial, executive and legislative branches, often with the participation and assistance of private individual or corporate informants, to profit from the destruction, silencing, asset seizure or blackmail of an individual or company who is out of favor or has offended some individual or group in power. The purpose of the swat operation is to satisfy the goals of one or more private special interest groups or governmental covert operations, or both. Ghandi’s perceptive observation about the traits most spiritually harmful to humanity, in a few words, goes a great distance in explaining what the point of the swat operation is. I have spent the last seven years of my practice witnessing, and attempting to deal with, the legal aspects of swat operations apparently conducted at both federal and state levels, in all branches of government, with the assistance of government contractors and unwitting participants alike.
The most challenging aspect of this type of practice is convincing those who are targets  or witnesses of the swat operation that it does, in fact, exist. After all, covert operations are conducted under cover. The very nature of a successful covert operation is to achieve its goals without the general public’s being aware that a single force is responsible for what appears to be a series of unrelated events. In my experience, the bigger the lie, the easier it is to pull off.
Let us think of the covert or
swat operation as having two primary “teams”:
(1) the covert, willful perpetrators, and those who deliberately or unwittingly assist them (other “participants”), referred to as the “swat team,” and
(2) the “target team,” comprised of the target and the target’s friends, family members, business colleagues and legal and other contractors hired to deal with the swat operation.
As will become clear, it is not necessary to the success of a covert operation that each participant on the swat team has the same or even similar interests to those of other participants, that participants belong to the same political party or recognized social class, or even that the participants know each other. It is also true that individuals not infrequently operate on both teams. Likewise, oftentimes, members of the target’s team search in vain for reasons to believe that there is no swat, but rather a series of unfortunate events brought on by the failure of the target to be perfect. As one of my clients is fond of saying, “there’s always a parking ticket.” This form of denial arises from a false understanding of how the larger economic and social systems operate and often is strong enough to survive despite even overwhelming evidence to contradict the party line put forth by members of the swat team
An analogy may assist the reader in understanding the nature of a swat operation. Picture a train. A very few passengers get on at the first stop and travel to the end of the line. Most get on and off at different points from each other, with no awareness of the destinations or identities of the other passengers. But all have an interest in going in the same direction and arriving at their own individual destinations along the way without impediment, burden or undue cost or risk. When special interests can control the expenditure of huge sums to get what they want, it is not difficult to discern how and why significant numbers of government officials may undertake multiple actions that result in a common economic end.
To be effective, a trial lawyer who represents the target of a swat operation must fully understand the adversary’s needs and motivations, the limits of the adversary’s resources, if any, and the limits of the adversary’s moral character, if any. The greatest challenge for such an attorney, as well as the client, is that he needs to develop the ability to think as the adversary thinks (which, of course, presents a true danger to the attorney’s own moral character and peace of mind) in order to develop a successful legal and political strategy. The process continues: the lawyer assists the target client to develop a plan to stop the adversary’s plan and a then a response to the adversary’s response to the target’s plan, and so on. Until we are able to do this without the Orwellian “brain lock,”  we will seldom be effective. The lessons of a trial lawyer apply equally to trial strategies and life in general.
Several overarching rules of thumb usually form the basic structure for the design of a swat operation against any given target:
(1) Convince the public that the truth is a lie and lies are the truth
(2) Pretend money isn’t important and prevent researchers from “following the money trail” and identifying the puppeteers who are controlling and benefiting from the actions of the swat team
(3) Destroy potential witnesses/documenters/experts as a means of rewriting history as to the existence of the swat team and its tactics
(4) Provide plausible deniability to all participants for their roles in the swat
(5) Design the operation so that swat team members and participants make money and the target loses money (i.e., engage in a resource war)
(6) Projective identification: accuse the target of illegal or immoral acts that members of the swat team actually engage in, thereby depriving the target of an explanation for the assault against him
(7) Use complexity, distraction and frequent changes in cast of characters and forums to make it impossible for anyone to follow the enfolding story of greed, lust for power and illegality
At the simplest level, the
strategy of the swat team is to use a series of “carrot” and
“stick” weapons available to it through legal and illegal
means to recruit participants in the swat from a number of
(1) The target’s team (including employees, contractors, attorneys, bankers and accountants or auditors)
(2) Judicial and prosecutorial agents
(3) Members of the bureaucracy in executive branch agencies
(4) Members of the media
(5) Businesses, both allies and competitors, in and trade groups representing the target’s industry
“Carrot” weapons used to bribe, render disloyal or otherwise lure away participants who might otherwise render aid to the target or, more insidiously, cause them to take action against the target, vary according to the foibles or, if you will, character defects, of the potential swat team participants. The following is a non-exhaustive list of some commonly-used carrot weapons and the types of participants for which such carrots may be effective tools:
Weapons, according to the Associated Seven Deadly Sins
Type of Participant Particularly Vulnerable to this Weapon
Pride (also Vanity)
Judges and their clerks
Government employees, particularly prosecutorial, enforcement and intelligence
Prominent members of target’s industry
Those on the outside looking in
Members of the target’s family
Greed (also Avarice and Covetousness)
Target’s competitors and colleagues
Members of the media
Attorneys, accountants, bankers and consultants
Politicians and elected judges
Civil Service bureaucrats, former employees of the target
Politicians, men in mid-life crisis, homosexuals, the unhappily married or socially awkward, sex addicts
Business competitors and subordinates who hold grudges against the target
Disgruntled employees of the target
Friends, employees and other contacts of the target who are alcoholics, compulsive overeaters, bulimics or anorexics or who have family histories of same
Anger (also Wrath)
Target’s business competitors, particularly those the target has beaten out for contracts or business
Government bureaucrats who have gotten comeuppance due to the target’s actions
Employees fired by the target or who lost jobs as a result of the swat
Members of the target’s industry who are not competitive, nonperformers
Bureaucrats in frustrating or dead-end jobs or who are biding their time until retirement eligibility
"Good old boys" who have not kept up with emergent technologies, management styles and other workplace changes
The list of “stick” weapons that can be used to exert pressure upon or blackmail those who would support the target or refuse to rubber-stamp others’ actions that are illegal or immoral is endless. Sticks also can be used against the target directly.
Those who are familiar with covert operations will think of the control file – a file assembled with respect to an individual that includes incriminating or embarrassing information.  The point is to find out personal matters and hit the blackmail target where it hurts, often when the damage is worst, i.e., in conjunction with other attacks, or when the blackmail target has experienced other personal difficulties.  If the target or participant against whom a stick is needed has proven himself or herself vulnerable (i.e., displayed character defects as described above in the context of carrots), these failings are used in order to break the target’s heart and will to fight or to scare the colleague, family member, friend or government system member into compliance or cooperation.
The sticks list includes everything from little assaults like parking tickets and dead animals on the target’s doorstep to largely-illegal, Cointelpro- or Enemy of the State- type weapons that we can only imagine exist: computer databases, programs and spyware (e.g., PROMIS and Echelon), nonlethal weapons, poisons, drugs, traffic accidents, suicides, burglaries, muggings, psychic assassinations and mind control methodologies of the type exposed by the Church Committee . 
Another major category of sticks is the use of audits, investigations and inquiries by governmental agents. In this regard, see the list compiled by Hamilton Securities in connection with its eight-year-long battle with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (available online at http://www.solari.com/gideon/legal/audits.html), referred to by the target, appropriately, as “Gideon” (Judges 6-9).
Finally, the list is not complete without mentioning the mother of all sticks against the target: character assassination through the press, whisper campaigns and legal documents. This weapon is insidious, because it puts the target in the position of a social outcast, thereby depriving him of the emotional support from family, friends and community so necessary to survive the swat assault.
Examples of Tactics Used by Prosecutors and Adverse Counsel
Assign or delegate the investigation of the target to a highly political enforcement agency division and avoid involvement by a division that cannot be controlled Find a minor technical infraction, or make one up, and use administrative or common law offset or other means to seize funds owed to the target or held by third parties in trust for the target Issue overbroad subpoenae so that the target no longer has privacy in his or her financial, strategic and personal affairs and the burden shifts to the target to show that any materials in the target’s files and computers are not properly the subject of the discovery or investigation Send subpoenae to the target’s attorneys, relatives and everyone the target does business with in order to scare them Inform the target’s employees, contractors and other agents and family that if they fail to cooperate they could be subject to personal criminal and financial liability, including seizure of assets Seize laptops from the target’s employees and contractors and hold onto them as long as possible Seize equipment, software programs, tapes and other digital materials that are essential to the conduct of the target’s business or can be taken apart in a way that destroys their future usefulness Destroy the digital infrastructure of the target’s business and “lose” key proprietary documents, databases or software programs provided by the target under subpoena Reassign any investigators who appear sympathetic to the target, are about to recommend the government end a legal assault or appear to have concluded that the evidence does not support the legal assault Routinely promote or hire away prosecutors or other attorneys or investigators, thus providing plausible deniability by each participant in the offensive action (i.e., “That wasn’t on my watch”) Force the target into involuntary bankruptcy and appoint a bankruptcy trustee and/or bankruptcy judge who can be controlled by carrots or sticks, thereby attaining control over the target’s intellectual property  Join forces with the target’s insurance carrier to devise tactics for it to deny coverage for the hiring of experts (e.g., private detectives or specialized counsel) Join forces with the target’s insurance carrier in “squeeze plays” or other tactics to drain the target’s resources, leave the target without legal representation, force the target to settle on unfavorable terms or admit legal or moral culpability Set up the target on obstruction of justice charges Falsify evidence against the target Falsely charge the target of crimes he did not commit, thereby using up the target’s resources in the ensuing defense  Leak inaccurate and damning information to the media, plant false stories and suppress stories sympathetic or favorable to the target File a rambling “kitchen sink” complaint against the target that can be continually amended When the target successfully refutes one set of charges, amend any complaint or investigational laundry list to incorporate a whole new set of charges, complicating the defense and making it virtually impossible for the target’s counsel to identify key issues and for the news media to cover the case Issue secret subpoenae to the target’s bank for bank records and then search for “parking tickets” and opportunities to frame the target for new infractions
A significant number of the financially successful trial lawyers in this country begin their careers on the prosecutorial side. The Department of Justice alone employs [insert number] attorneys. If each of such attorneys feels the need to distinguish himself, to earn notches on his gun, so to speak, from a successful “kill” record without disturbing the status quo, it is not difficult to follow the numbers and conclude that there are not enough real criminals to go around. In an economic market where there are too few high-paying, “big firm” jobs for too many experienced attorneys, and the Attorney General of the United States takes attempts to impose a rule that would exempt Department of Justice attorneys from state codes of ethics,  the temptation to lose sight of justice for the sake of one’s career may be understandable, if not excusable.
Examples of Tactics that Interfere with Legal Representation
Remove existing counsel of the target by influencing target’s insurer to delay or refuse payments of agreed legal fees, then substitute counsel that can be controlled by the insurer or counsel that is new to the case, will not have pre-swat understanding of the target’s business and will require a lengthy period of orientation to the client’s unique fact situation Lure away the target’s attorney by providing him or her with new client business (which new business may conflict with representation of the target or take up the attorney’s time resources that could be devoted to the target’s case) or a new management committee that does not support continuation of the representation Prevent the target from hiring the most qualified or experienced experts by using the expert’s other clients to raise issues of conflicts of interest with target’s case Threaten the target’s attorney with disbarment or sanctions Put pressure on target’s attorney through the management committee of his or her law firm Lure away valued associates or other assistants of the target’s attorney with favorable job offers, thereby disrupting the case knowledge base Lead the target’s attorney to believe that legal or other harassment of a close associate (e.g., a secretary) is related to the target’s case At critical times in the case (e.g., when briefs are due or when subpoenae are issued or other offensive action is taken, requiring intense representation), put the target’s attorney in a bind with demands from another case (including causing the attorney to get new business) Gain access to communications with counsel through the use of taps on the target’s telephone lines or spyware on target’s email to in order to learn of weaknesses in target’s case and use the knowledge gained against the target as a means of harassment or litigation strategy Use “stick” weapons directly against the target’s attorney
In general, one of the most effective weapons to damage the legal relationship is to create fear and distrust between the client and attorney. In order for even the most noble and brave attorney to endure the above-described tactics, he must believe in the client and the cause represented. An attorney who does not hold these beliefs is putting his physical, emotional, mental, spiritual and professional life on the line for reasons that will ultimately weaken him and cause him to fail to represent the client with the boldness, honor and bravery required. This is not a job for the feignt of heart or representation to be undertaken blithely.
Examples of Tactics Used within the Judicial System
Influence the assignment of a judge to the case where the judge either has known prejudices that would adversely affect the target or the judge can be controlled by blackmail or other means (see below re: carrots and sticks) – hurt or threaten children Consolidate control over the judicial aspect of the swat so that a single or a small number of judges makes key decisions Influence the judge using carrots (e.g., campaign contributions to elected judges, offer of things of value such as awards, “plum” assignments, distinctions, exclusive club memberships) Influence the judge using sticks (e.g., strange accidents involving close members of the judge’s family, meaningfully noted at the appropriately time so that the judge makes a connection to the case before him or her; raising issues of suitability at the time of a reappointment) Put an uncooperative judge in an untenable position by, for example, making unethical contacts, thereby forcing the judge to recuse himself or herself or otherwise withdraw from the case Remove an unwanted judge by appointing him or her to a higher court Assign the case to a judge/mediator for mediation, especially where the judge/mediator can be controlled through carrots or sticks Appoint a special master or trustee of the court to take possession of target’s documents or make discovery-related or other decisions related to the case, especially where the special master or trustee can be controlled through carrots or sticks Cause relevant files and proprietary information that is key to the target’s business, or evidence favorable to the target, to disappear, whether through denial of its very existence or through fire, explosion or other convenient disaster Provide the target’s insurer with arguments that will support denial of coverage for legal fees or damages Delay the case by dispatching the judge to a matter of overriding importance, such as providing emergency assistance in another circuit (especially useful where this can be done in the middle of the trial) Delay the case by assigning it to a judge who has too many cases to handle, or a judge in poor physical or mental health, or a judge who will take maternity leave or senior status in the near future Delay any case brought by the target or use up the target’s resources by raising “red herring” or technical issues (e.g., disputing that the requisites to court jurisdiction, such as exhaustion of administrative remedies, have been satisfied) Close the hearings to the media and public at large and classify incriminating documents by invoking the “state secrets” privilege  Provide the target’s insurer with arguments that will support denial of coverage for legal fees or damages
I set forth the foregoing list without judging the judges: who among us can say with certainty what we would do for a stranger when the peace and safety of those we love and respect are threatened? Increasingly, our honest elected and appointed officials become subject to forces that dictate that they must make untenable choices between, for example, career and integrity, professional acceptance and a series of seemingly minor compromises, family and personal safety and accepting questionable legal theories. That said, imagine the dilemma of the target’s unsuspecting attorney when he comes to the realization that the judicial process is rigged against him. This, in a legal environment in which the highest legal official of a state has sought judicial sanctions against an attorney employed by a nonprofit public advocacy organization for filing a legal challenge, as provided by state statute, to an election process that has been questioned widely in the press and by several Members of Congress. 
Direct Assaults by the Swat Team on the Target and the Target’s Associates
Brand the target as a criminal, homosexual, mental defective or conspiracy theorist or affix another label to render him a social pariah Follow and harass houseguests or friends after they have had contact with the target Raise issues as to the propriety of routine financial transactions, particularly those entered into with family members and others who might provide the target with financial and emotional support (subpoena of financial records of family members, get them to disassociate; alienate the target’s spouse) Provide financial opportunities, awards, promotions or other “carrots” to potential supporters of the target to distract their efforts to help or support, especially journalists or members of the media who are poised to expose dirty tricks or paint the target in a favorable light Get the target or supporter of the target fired from a job or otherwise remove his or her ability to provide financial support to family and self Blackball the target or the target’s attorney or supporter from employment through a whisper campaign or by other similar means Use every means possible to drain the target’s resources and, when the target has lost or used up the equity in his house, cashed in his retirement and spent his savings, hit the target with enormous cash demands and closely examine the target’s response for other opportunities to cause further damage (e.g., inspire a tax audit, cut off credit or alienate a financial supporter) Drive the target or the target’s supporters, counsel or family members to suicide or physical or emotional ruin through the use of physical, nonlethal or biological, psychic or other methods or weapons of harassment (e.g., flat tires, mysterious illnesses, “men in black cars,” missing appointment books, crashed computer systems, apparent road rage) Raise questions about the target’s personal or business affairs to other governmental, regulatory, administrative or other bodies having jurisdiction over the target’s personal or business affairs (e.g., anonymous complaints to a local children’s protective services agency, anonymous zoning or building complaints, IRS or local tax audits, inquiries by the Federal Elections Commission regarding campaign contributions by the target, “routine” contract and other audits), forcing the target to use up financial and time resources in responding Using carrots or sticks, get those who are in a contractual relationship with the target to cancel their contracts with the target (e.g., apartment or business leases, contracts for target to sell his or her house or business, business services contracts, nanny or personal services contracts) or decide not to enter into favorable contracts with the target Hack the target’s computer system with viruses and other damaging code; destroy the target’s computer system Get the bank or other secured creditor to screw the target -- steal money, cut off credit, pass on dirty or sensitive financial information, steal tax refunds Divide and conquer – keep individuals with similar experiences away from the target Plant a honey pot – someone who purports to be a renegade member of the opposing team but is in reality a swat team member placed in the target’s circle of influence in order to plant false evidence or otherwise undermine target’s credibility Limited hang-out – when the target successfully defends himself, use the “modified limited hang-out” to limit credibility (see, Catherine Austin Fitts, “Will the Real Economic Hitmen Please Stand Up?” [insert citation to From the Wilderness article and summary]) Leak inaccurate or damaging information to the media, plant false stories and suppress favorable stories about the target or stories exposing the swat Send deals to the target that never close Try to buy out the target’s company at less-than-value, using squeeze plays or other nefarious means Use the target’s money and resources to bribe others to take actions against the target, all the while providing a “cover story” for the recipients of the bounty so that they do not have to admit to themselves they have been bribed
It goes without saying that it is a rare and courageous target who can survive, let alone flourish under, such assaults for a lengthy period of time. There will be more survivors in the future if members of the general public become aware of the game and provide financial, career and emotional support to the targets of the world notwithstanding the pressures placed upon them to join the swat team.
My initial assignment for this article was, as an attorney, to make a “short and sweet” list of dirty tricks I have seen used on the targets of covert operations who have decided to use the legal system to fight back. In the process of drafting the short and sweet list, which got longer and longer, I found that in order to make my dirty tricks list intelligible to the reader, I had to hint at the larger context in which the target conducts business and at some of the motivations for the actors who play roles in the bitter swat drama. That path led me with trepidation to suggest framing the swat in terms of the Seven Deadly Sins. I attempted in every way to avoid stating what has become, to me, obvious: this is spiritual warfare of the highest order. I was unsuccessful in my attempt. Having broken the lawyer’s secret code of political correctness, which states that it is a sin for an attorney to deal on a spiritual plane and confront the eye of the beast frontally and in unambiguous terms that a client might understand, I take the dialogue with you, dear reader, to the next level. In the spirit of full disclosure, I tell you I do not believe that the swat battle can have as its primary goal for the target the attainment of compensation for financial damages, the restoration of past social status and business reputation or retribution for wrongs committed. If this is how the target defines success, the target will lose. There must be a higher purpose.
It would be heartless of me to reveal “He Who Cannot Be Named” without suggesting that there are weapons in the target’s arsenal, too. Let me conclude by disclosing the good news and the bad news and leave further elaboration for another day. The good news is that there is a legal way to fight the evil forces of the swat team. The bad news is that way is largely spiritual.
1. Pen name.
2. Quoted from the “Seven Deadly Sins” website: http://deadlysins.com/features/gandhi.htm.
3. “Target” as used herein refers to this offending individual or company.
4. Orwell, George 1984 (New York: Random House, 1992).
5. Some sources suggest that politicians, in particular, are often lured with sexual favors into committing illegal acts for the express purpose of building a control file that can be used to blackmail the victim into using his or her power to achieve the goals of the control file holder. Cf. John DeCamp’s The Franklin Cover-up: Child Abuse, Satanism and Murder in Nebraska (1996), which exposes a child sex ring in Omaha in the late 1980s that is alleged to have had among its members prominent local and national political figures.
6. The travails of Henry Cisneros, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development during the Clinton Administration, come to mind. He was forced out of office allegedly for lying during his confirmation hearings as the amount of payments he had made to a former mistress. Later, during the investigation conducted by Special Prosecutor Barrett, allegations of tax fraud arose. Few who read the salacious stories at the time realized that as Secretary of HUD, Cisneros had made himself a target by attempting to institute reforms at the notoriously corrupt agency.
7. A collection of Church Committee documents can be found at http://www.aarclibrary.org/publib/church/contents.htm.
8. An apparent example of this tactic involves the PROMIS case involving a company named “Inslaw” that produced a powerful software program licensed to the Department of Justice. To read a lengthy online book about this interesting case, see, Carol Marshall, The Last Circle (1994) (available online at http://www.lycaeum.org/books/books/last_circle/).
9. This is what allegedly happened to Bill White, a distinguished former Naval officer, pilot and graduate of Annapolis and Harvard Business School, who made the mistake of entering into a business partnership in Houston with James Bath, a Bentsen and Bush family friend and Army pilot whom White says secretly represented influential Saudis (including Salem Bin Laden and Bin Mahfouz, of BCCI fame) in various real estate and other transactions, many of which were barred to non-US citizens. According to White, he was framed with respect to four criminal charges and sued in twenty-eight frivolous lawsuits when he refused to use the partnership’s business to commit fraud and attempted to disassociate with Bath. An interview of Bill White by Bob McKeon can be found using a Google search engine and typing in “Bill White + Bin Laden.”
10. In 1989, in connection with a dispute over whether Section 4.2 of the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, which prohibits a lawyer from communicating with a party known to be represented by counsel, applied to federal prosecutors, then Attorney General Thornberg issued a memorandum (dubbed the “Thornberg Memorandum”) stating that the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution barred the enforcement of ethics rules at state and local levels against federal prosecutors. In 1994, Attorney General Janet Reno codified this provision in the “Reno Regulation,” which subsequently was struck down by the Eigth Circuit in U.S. ex rel O'Keefe v. McDonnell Douglas Corp., 132 F.3d 1252 (1998). Current 28 CFR Part 77.3 incorporates the “McDade Amendment” to the Reno provision, which provides, “attorneys for the government shall conform their conduct and activities to the state rules and laws, and federal local court rules, governing attorneys in each State where such attorney engages in that attorney's duties, to the same extent and in the same manner as other attorneys in that State…”
11. Perhaps the best-known recent use of this tactic is in the case of Sibel Edmonds, a State Department contractor and whistleblower who tried to expose deficiencies and fraud within the system for translating potential evidence in terrorist investigations. See, James Ridgeway, “The Silencing of Sibel Edmonds,” The Village Voice (April 21, 2005).
12. This is a reference to the motion for sanctions filed by Ohio Secretary of State James Petro against Clifford Arnebeck, attorney for the contestors of the Ohio 2004 Presidential election, available at http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/electionlaw/key-recounts.html#moss under “Motion for Sanctions.”